CBD under your tongue: how can you take it in this way?

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Many beginner users wonder how to take CBD under the tongue. In Europe, the situation varies from country to country. While in some countries, the law allows the use of CBD as a dietary supplement and therefore sublingual use, in other countries it is prohibited. In this guide we explain how to take CBD sublingually in countries where the sale of these products is allowed.

CBD under your tongue: what does this consumption method involve?

Sublingual use of CBD involves the administering of cannabidiol under the tongue. This form of consumption takes effect in just a few minutes, which is faster than ingestion. To take CBD in this way, a liquid base containing CBD is required. Normally, a plant-based oil is used, either hemp seed oil or coconut MCT oil. In Spain, under current legislation, only the sale of CBD oil for topical use is permitted. However, in other countries such as Canada, the United States, and Switzerland, its sale as a dietary supplement is permitted, although the product itself is the same. In these places, sublingual use of CBD is quite common due to the benefits provided by this form of consumption.

What are the advantages of taking CBD under your tongue?

The area under the tongue and the buccal mucosa have a large number of capillaries. For this reason, by placing a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue, this cannabinoid passes directly into the bloodstream. This means that cannabidiol reaches the bloodstream without passing through the digestive tract and without being metabolised in the liver. In other words, we’re spared the digestion process and the resulting loss of CBD. As a result, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for the CBD to take effect when administering CBD under the tongue. This is far less time than when it’s ingested. Furthermore, taking CBD under the tongue allows for a higher bioavailability of cannabidiol. In other words, more CBD is absorbed by this method than by ingesting it¹. In short, the main advantages of taking CBD under the tongue are the speed with which it takes effect, the ease of administration, as well as greater bioavailability.

How can you take CBD under your tongue?

As mentioned above, in Spain CBD oil can only be sold for topical use. In other words, sublingual administration of CBD isn’t legally permitted in Spain. Consequently, it’s understood that, from a legal point of view, those users who administer it in this way are misusing the product. Therefore, we explain below how you can take CBD under the tongue in those countries where it can be consumed in this way. Examples include Canada, Switzerland, and the United States, among others. The first step in using CBD in countries where regulation allows this administration method is to calculate the necessary dosage. Once you know what the ideal amount of CBD oil is, you can proceed to take it. However, if you’re taking CBD oil for the first time, it’s advisable to do a test. Simply place a single drop of CBD under your tongue and wait for a couple of hours to rule out any adverse reactions. When taking CBD oil under your tongue, it’s important not to eat before or after doing so. Just leave a window of 15 to 20 minutes, both before and after. The most common way to administer CBD under the tongue is to use a dropper or spray to place a few drops under your tongue. Once this is done, the drops should be held for at least 30 seconds to one minute without swallowing.

How long does it take for CBD oil to take effect under your tongue?

Most commonly, the effects of cannabidiol taken in this way take between 15 and 20 minutes to kick in. That said, sometimes it can take up to 60 minutes. The peak blood concentration, i.e. the highest bioavailability, is reached between 1.67 and 2.17 hours after sublingual administration². Therefore, the strongest effect is obtained one and a half to two hours after intake. As for the duration of cannabidiol, this can vary depending on the administration method and the amount taken. When CBD is taken under the tongue, in doses between 5 mg and 20 mg, the effect can last up to eight hours, according to a study published in 2004 in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics³.

Things to consider when taking CBD under your tongue

The first point to consider when taking CBD under your tongue is the dosage. The effects of CBD can vary depending on a number of factors such as your weight, age, metabolism, and the purpose for which it’s taken. Once the ideal dosage is established, it’s important to make sure the product is of good quality. Some CBD oils can contain heavy metals and other harmful chemicals. It’s therefore essential to ensure that the product to be used can be ingested safely. In addition, it has been found that, depending on the drop size from the dispenser used (dropper or spray), the length of the effect varies. CBD taken under the tongue as a spray gets absorbed quicker and lasts longer. With CBD drops, however, higher blood concentration levels are reached⁴. In other words, the effect is more pronounced, but for a shorter time. Taste is another characteristic of CBD oil that should be taken into account when taking it under the tongue. In countries where this cannabinoid is sold for consumption in this way, the oils commonly include flavours and aromas. This is done to reduce the herbal taste of the CBD extract.  While these additions aren’t an essential ingredient, they do make the taking of CBD more pleasant, especially for users who aren’t used to consuming it. Lastly, it should be noted that while CBD is a very safe compound, in some very rare cases it can have some side effects. Although these are generally mild discomfort, such as a dry mouth or slight drowsiness, it’s advisable to do a test before starting to take it. To do so, simply place a single drop of CBD oil under your tongue and hold it for about a minute. If after a couple of hours you haven’t noticed any negative effects, you can proceed with taking CBD under your tongue.
Photo by Kadarius Seegars on Unsplash

Summary and conclusions on taking CBD under your tongue

The Tree CBD is a marketer based in Spain, where the sublingual use of CBD isn’t legally permitted. We’re therefore obligated to warn you that its use should only be topical, i.e. on the skin. In other countries where the law does allow sublingual use, CBD oil is used, either hemp seed oil or coconut MCT oil. CBD can also be administered under the tongue using a dropper or spray. Doing so is typically the quickest administration method after inhalation. CBD passes directly into the bloodstream through the buccal mucosa and sublingual capillaries, so it’s not digested and doesn’t pass through the digestive tract. As a result, it takes between 15 and 20 minutes to take effect. Its effects can last for up to eight hours. To take CBD oil under your tongue, you shouldn’t eat or drink anything for approximately 15 minutes before and after taking it. It’s also vital that you’re aware of the correct dosage of CBD oil, and to make sure that the product is free of harmful chemicals. Lastly, it’s also worth remembering that it’s highly advisable to do a test with CBD oil to make sure that it doesn’t cause side effects.

References on taking CBD under your tongue

  1. Grotenhermen, F. Cannabinoids for therapeutic use. Am J Drug Deliv 2, 229–240 (2004). doi.org/10.2165/00137696-200402040-00003
  2. Millar SA, Stone NL, Yates AS and O’Sullivan SE (2018) A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Front. Pharmacol. 9:1365. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01365
  3. Guy, G. W., & Flint, M. E. (2004). A single centre, placebo-controlled, four period, crossover, tolerability study assessing, pharmacodynamic effects, pharmacokinetic characteristics and cognitive profiles of a single dose of three formulations of cannabis based medicine extracts (CBMEs)(GWPD9901), plus a two period tolerability study comparing pharmacodynamic effects and pharmacokinetic characteristics of a single dose of a cannabis based medicine extract given via two administration routes (GWPD9901 EXT). Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, 3(3), 35-77.
  4. Ibíd.
Photo by Fulvio Ciccolo on Unsplash

Frequently asked questions on taking CBD under your tongue

As the name suggests, sublingual use of CBD involves placing a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue and keeping them there until they’re absorbed. This way of consuming CBD oil is one of the quickest, as it takes effect in just 15 minutes. However, they won’t last as long as with other forms of consumption.
The legal status of this way of taking CBD depends on the country you’re in. In Spain, as of 2018, legislation doesn’t allow for the sale of CBD products as a dietary supplement. Therefore, this way of consuming CBD oil wouldn’t be legally authorised in the country, as it’s only allowed to be sold for topical use. However, in other countries where the law does allow it, sublingual consumption of this product is popular among users.
This CBD administration method requires a liquid base that contains it and allows it to be absorbed. It can be hemp seed oil or coconut MCT oil. Both have many beneficial properties and are ideal for this purpose.
This administration method is one of the fastest forms of internal consumption. As it doesn’t pass through the digestive tract, CBD is absorbed directly, so that it takes effect almost immediately. However, unlike when it’s ingested, its effects are short-lived. For this reason, many CBD users choose to combine sublingual consumption with CBD ingestion.

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